Designs on governance: development of policy instruments and dynamics in governance

Jan-Peter Voß

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    631 Downloads (Pure)


    The thesis analyses the role of policy instruments for dynamics of governance, using case studies on ‘emissisons trading’ and ‘network access regulation in the utilities’. It opens by observing a paradox: Policy instruments are criticised for misrepresenting the complex and contested reality of public policy-making by portraying it as technical problem-solving, yet, policy instruments play an increasingly central role in policy analysis, design and public debate. The first part of the thesis develops a conception of policy instruments as ‘designs on governance’. This implies a double life: as models of governance and as configurations that work in real world governance contexts. Understanding the role of policy instruments requires to study the development of trajectories in governance patterns that result from the interaction of models and configurations. Concepts from innovation studies are mobilised and the notion of an ‘innovation journey’ is adopted as a heuristic framework. The second part of the thesis presents two case studies examplifying different innovation patterns: design push (case of emissions trading) and dynamics pull (case of network access regulation). For each pattern typical phases and transitions as well as ironies that undermine the instrumentality of designs on governance are discussed. Conclusions of the thesis address the co-evolution of policy instruments with broader governance dynamics and specify conditions under which momentum of instruments may dominate over dynamics of problem formulation and political authority, or vice versa. Key insights are formulated with respect to the division of design labour between local and global in the context of emerging cosmopolitan governance regimes, the social life of policy instruments and the ambivalent role of technical models of governance for effectiveness as well as democratic legimitacy of public policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Rip, Arie, Supervisor
    • Arentsen, Maarten, Supervisor
    Award date18 Oct 2007
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-2585-5
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2007


    • IR-58085


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